PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 17-08-2021

Last Updated on 4 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Transmission Update

We have 590 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am today. 420 cases are from the Western Division and 170 cases are from the Central Division. A full breakdown of areas of interest will be published online tonight on the Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard. You will also be able to view the approximate locations of new cases, active cases, and recovered cases on the dashboard at the following link: http://bit.ly/3vE2ZBb.

There have been 1,304 new recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 21,754 active cases. 14,554 active cases are in the Central Division, 7,199 active cases in the Western Division and 1 active case in the Northern Division. We are currently reviewing and reconciling our active case database with recoveries and as a result we expect the recovery numbers to increase in the coming weeks.

There have been 41,107 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 41,177 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 18,795 recoveries.

Deaths

We have 11 new COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of August 13th-15th. 5 deaths were reported from the Central Division and 6 deaths were reported from the Western Division.

The first COVID-19 death to report is an 85 year old man from Naitasiri who died at home on the 13/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is an 83 year old woman from Naitasiri who died at home on the 13/08/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is an 82 year old man from Sigatoka. He was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Sigatoka Hospital. This means that he died on his way to the hospital or at home (15/08/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 68 year old man from Suva. He presented to the CWM Hospital in severe respiratory distress. He died one day after admission on the 15/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report is a 57 year old woman from Tailevu who died at home on the 15/08/2021. She was not vaccinated.

The sixth COVID-19 death to report is a 68 year old woman from Tailevu who died at home on the 15/08/2021. She received the 1st dose of the vaccine in early-July. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.

The seventh COVID-19 death to report is a 79 year old man from Rakiraki who died at home on the 15/08/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The eighth COVID-19 death to report is a 72 year old woman from Tavua. She presented to the Tavua Sub-Divisional Hospital on Sunday (15/08/2021) with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Sadly, she died a few hours later in the early hours of 16/08/2021. She received the first dose of the vaccine in early-June. She received the second dose of the vaccine on 05/08/2021. However, as she got sick with COVID-19 less than 2 weeks after receiving the second dose, she was not fully vaccinated when she got infected with the virus. A person must have two doses of the vaccine and wait at least two weeks after the second dose to be considered fully vaccinated and to get the full protective effect of the vaccine.

The ninth COVID-19 death to report is a 72 year old man from Tavua. He presented to the Tavua Hospital in severe respiratory distress. He died on the same day (14/08/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The tenth COVID-19 death to report is an 86 year old man from Tavua. He presented to the Tavua Hospital in severe respiratory distress. He died on the same day (13/08/2021). He was not vaccinated.

The eleventh COVID-19 death to report is an 88 year old man from Lautoka who died at home on the same day (15/08/2021). He received the first dose of the vaccine in late-July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

With today’s newly reported deaths, there have now been 405 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 403 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year. The national 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 9. The 7 day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths in the Central Division is 4 and in the Western Division is 5.  We also have recorded 223 COVID-19 positive patients who died from the serious medical conditions that they had before they contracted COVID-19; these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths.

Hospitalisations

There are currently 320 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. 115 patients are admitted to the Lautoka Hospital, 43 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 162 admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 39 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 13 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 5,102 individuals were screened and 876 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 462,637 individuals screened and 80,563 swabbed to date. As of the 16th August our mobile screening teams screened a total of 1,438 individuals and swabbed 147. This brings our cumulative total to 791,848 individuals screened and 70,079 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing update

A total of 309,940 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 352,801 tested since testing began in March 2020. 1370 tests have been reported for August 16th. Testing number data for one lab is still being received and so the testing number is expected to increase once updated. The 7-day daily test average is 1507 tests per day or 1.7 tests per 1,000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 32.8%.

Vaccination Update

As of the 16th August 536,123 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 216,012 have received their second doses. This means that 91.4% of the target population have received at least one dose and 36.8% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. We are currently doing a mop up exercise of our first dose campaign, which will allow us to specifically target specific communities with low coverage, and subsequently also correct and update the total eligible population for our current vaccination program.

Fijians can check the Ministry’s vaccine dashboard to find real-time data on first-dose and second-dose numbers at the national, divisional and sub-divisional levels. You can access the live dashboard at http://bit.ly/3h2JfCZ

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 476 cases per day or 538 cases per million population per day. We have noted a drop in cases reported per day recently. However, our daily testing numbers have also been dropping around the same time, due to the change in testing policy in Suva-Nausori. As announced on July 21st by the Permanent Secretary, only persons that have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 are being targeted for testing in Suva-Nausori. This was done so that resources could be targeted to early detection, monitoring and care of persons with COVID-19 who are at higher risk of severe disease, to prevent more people succumbing to severe disease and death.

We are likely seeing the effect of this testing policy change now in Suva-Nausori with the drop in daily reported cases. This does not mean that the outbreak is on a downward trend in the Suva-Nausori community. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, daily case numbers in Suva-Nausori are currently not being used as an indicator to monitor progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori. The Ministry is closely monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak in Suva-Nausori.

We are seeing increasing cases reported in the Western Division with evidence of widespread community transmission in that division.

The Northern Division has 1 active case, and the Eastern Division currently has no active cases.

Advice to the public

People with severe COVID-19 are still dying at home, or they are coming to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness. We are now seeing this happening in the Western Division as deaths are increasing in that division.

Severe COVID-19 is a medical emergency, and a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment reduces your chance of recovering from the disease. You are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 if you are over the age of 50 or have a non-communicable disease or chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, or if you are obese or pregnant. If you are at high risk of severe disease and have any symptoms of COVID-19 such as a cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat, body ache, headache, loss of taste/smell – please come to your nearest screening clinic to be checked and tested by our medical teams.

We need also need all Fijians to know the severe symptoms of COVID-19, which include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Severe headache for a few days
  • New confusion, inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-coloured skin, lips or nail beds

In Suva-Nausori we have identified health facilities specifically designated to receive people with symptoms of severe COVID-19. If you or a loved one live in Suva-Nausori and have any of these severe symptoms please go immediately to the designated health facilities listed below.

  • Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH)
  • FEMAT Hospital, Vodafone Arena

Individuals in Nausori with severe symptoms should go to:

  • Nausori Health Centre
  • Wainibokasi Hospital

In the Western Division, please go to your nearest healthcare facility if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Call 165 if you are unable to travel to a medical facility. 

The public in the North are being reminded that with one active case identified in Nabouwalu, it is important that people throughout Vanua Levu listen to advice and continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures.

The public is requested to practice COVID-19 safety measures of wearing a mask when leaving your home, wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser, practice safe physical distancing of 2m, ensure that the careFIJI app is downloaded on your phone and enabled and remember to get vaccinated”.